Can Real Animals Be Replaced by Robots in Therapy?

Dogs have proven that they provide a lot of comfort when you use them in therapy for people who suffer from loneliness or who are spending long periods of time in hospitals and hospices. The health care sector is now coming up with the idea that a robot pet could replace live animals to bring peace to the elderly. Here are the latest developments regarding this concept.

The Benefits of Animal Therapy

As dog owners already know, this animal can bring you many different benefits to your life. It is a great companion that will give you a lot of love and affection. They bring a sense of calm and happiness that doesn’t change over the years. This is not just a sentimental view of the relationship between humans and dogs, as it has been proven many times through studies. They all conclude to the important positive impact that dogs have on our health and in our lives, when we keep one at home.

Today, people in charge in the health care system, are asking the question: Can we replace live animals by robot animals to bring this sentiment of peace to the elderly and the sick? And the answer that they are coming up with, for now, is yes. Robotic pets, though they can be quite costly sometimes, have shown to reduce stress and anxiety as well as the need for pain medicine.

An Old Problem which Has Become More Acute

Social disconnection of the elderly, and of the people who are sick and need to remain in a hospital, has been well documented for years. It is not a new situation in our society. However, it has taken an important turn for the worse, with the coronavirus crisis. Although they already felt a lot of solitude before the pandemic arrived, now they are left to themselves even more with interdictions to visit or suggestions to limit encounters with elders. The people in power indicate that it could be dangerous for them to die, if they caught the virus from a family member or a friend.

New problems often bring about new solutions. This is partly what happened in this situation, where directors of hospices and hospitals recognized the need for their patients or residents to have new visitors. In America, many managers have decided to buy a pet robot to keep company to those living under their roof. One of the reasons for it: its purchase cost is covered by the Food and Drug Administration, which considers this robot pet to be a biofeedback device.